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City Council votes to address homelessness with UT help, give East Knoxville families Thanksgiving meals

The Nov. 16 meeting of the Knoxville City Council also included discussions on the next steps for the Old City stadium project.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Knoxville City Council met on Tuesday to discuss several proposals on funding different programs and to talk about the next steps of the Old City stadium project.

Among the several agenda items was an emergency ordinance to donate $500 to Project Grad so that ten Austin-East Magnet High School students and their families could get Thanksgiving baskets.

They also voted to fund several other city programs ranging from the arts, education and community support. One of the proposals was to give $1,050,000 to the United Way of Greater Knoxville so it could administer a grant program supporting local non-profit organizations.

They also voted to give the United Way $1,300,000 so it could administer grants supporting local arts and culture-focused non-profit organizations. They said that this kind of grant program would support jobs and education while boosting the city's tourism, helping Knoxville recover from the pandemic.

Six neighborhood organizations in Knoxville will also get a total of $17,620 in small grants to support community-building activities like the Tour of Homes program.

They also voted to work with the University of Tennessee College of Social Work to support a standardized way for people experiencing homelessness to get help. The $90,452 agreement will develop a single way for local agencies to conduct intakes so other agencies can better coordinate help for people experiencing homelessness.

UT will also work with the Office on Homelessness to support Knoxville's system information system that guides local agencies and policymakers when addressing homelessness — KnoxHMIS. That agreement was for up to $36,000.

The city will also donate $3,000 to support the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club's 12th annual Fall Fest, which brings participants on trails across the city's urban wilderness.

They also voted to change the name of Burge Avenue between South Bell Street and Harriet Tubman Street to Elston Turner Drive, commemorating the former NBA player and alumnus of Austin-East Magnet High School.